Exclusive: Joell Ortiz’s Sobriety Gives Way To Creative Freedom & Lyrical Sharpness
For Joell Ortiz, getting sober, eating clean and losing weight meant a new sense of self, a refurbished set of eyes with which to view the world and, ultimately, a rediscovered freedom that helped peel back the layers as he moved his pen across the pad.
House Slippers, Ortiz’s third studio LP, signifies a new chapter, an unlearning and relearning –– an invaluable evolution that has inevitably led to fresher content.
On the other end of the line, he details sobriety and the impact it had on the recording process this time around, describing it as nothing short of incredible. One can only imagine that there’s a different kind of high that comes with being abstinent from alcohol. The feeling lifted because your second wind’s kicked in.
Having stepped inside the booth clearheaded and stronger than ever before, one quarter of Slaughterhouse waxed poetics that moved him. His 12-track project, backed independently by Penalty Entertainment, debuted fifth in the country – an accolade Ortiz is purely overjoyed with considering he’s yet to compromise himself or his sound.
Hip-Hop Wired: The underlying feeling of House Slippers makes me think you’re more comfortable in your own skin. Is this a new sense of self?
Joell Ortiz: What I meant as far as “house slippers” and “comfortable,” I really meant being sober for the recording of this album. I lost a ton of weight, I got healthy and for the first time in a long time I felt comfortable in my skin as a human being –– not recording wise. It was more so that I didn’t feel sluggish, overweight or hungover, all the issues that often come into play when you’re in Hip-Hop and touring.
This time around, I was waking up in the morning ready to get to work, as opposed to lamenting the fact that I had stuff to do that day. Does that make sense?
Photos: Penalty Entertainment